Is the problem really NHL fighting?

As we have seen in the news this year, and especially through the first half of the NHL season, is the major concern over concussions, head shots and fighting.

Of course there have been calls to ban all head shots to prevent concussions. However, if we look at some of the causes of the players concussions this season, they have been accidental collisions with teammates. It's as if being unexpectedly hit by a teammate, a friend, is more harmful than being hit by an opponent. Interesting parallel to life, isn't it?

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What I find most interesting, though, is the movement to ban fighting, "that it has no place in the game," claiming that it promotes violence in young viewers. While I understand the current sensitivity to this issue, due to the suicide of three NHL enforcers, I don't think it will ever happen. We are talking about grown adults, being paid for their shifts. I must admit my shock, however, when I saw a fight break out in a WHL game. These are teenagers who are paid very little. They are still developing physically and mentally, and a thumping against the head can do no good for a developing individual. So I believe the CHL (QMJHL, OHL and WHL) needs to address the fighting issue more than the NHL.

I find the targeting of the NHL in its promotion of violence to be inappropriate by certain media outlets and scholars. It makes no sense to condone violence in hockey when there are the same, if not more, viewers watching UFC. The 21st century version of gladiators.

I also think it is absurd to claim these grown men are incapable of making the decision of whether to drop the gloves on the ice, saying they are unaware of the potential consequences to their life, their family and so on, which is an understandable argument. But yet, in the same breath we encourage youth, teenagers, to experiment sexually, saying that after the age of 14 they can engage in intimate relationships, with little information on the potential consequences to that youth. Most notably, the lack in understanding of the potential consequences if that young person becomes pregnant or causes one. I believe the impact is greater on that youth and their future if they become pregnant. They now have a potential lifelong commitment. But also think of the impact not only on them but on their partner, their parents, their family, and especially that future human being.

If there is one commonality between all of these examples, and I believe to be the core issue, is there is a lack of respect for humanity, whether that is a teammate, co-worker, partner, child, a foreigner or an enemy. There seems to be a greater amount of disrespect for human life. We get upset when we see an image or footage of an inhumanly treated or a killed animal, but seem to wince less when we see the image or footage of dead humans. For example, I can't recall how often the video or picture of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was displayed, but I do know it was a sickening amount.

We need to start saying "Hi," "Good morning" and "Thanks" among other phrases more often to one another. We need to treat people as people and realize they are not images on a screen or a profile picture. They have feelings, thoughts and emotions. We need to be respectful, not just around the holidays, but year round.

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